No proof of global warming
There is no clear evidence yet that human activity is causing climatic change, says ANDREW MclNTYRE.
THE GREENHOUSE effect
and global-warming theories
still make some headlines in the media, and most of us believe that the earth is warming as a re- sult of the addition of carbon di- oxide to the atmosphere by human activity.
The Prime. Minister, Paul Keating, has called a round-table ■conference for tomorrow with the state and federal environment ministers in response to a House of Representatives Standing Com- mittee on the Environment report critical of government efforts to re- duce greenhouse gases. The Aus-
tralian government is signatory to a United Nations Framework Con- vention on this matter.
But there is a frightening lack of analysis or questioning of this now accepted theory anywhere in our Press. Where are the investigative journalists asking the difficult but obvious questions: "Where is the evidence?" and "What do the facts really mean?"
In the past year or two the greenhouse scare scenarios have
largely disappeared from the me- dia, expect for the occasional pub- lication of a scientific paper by
CSIRO or a university department of environment with impact state- ments on what would happen if warming occurred.
This is not surprising, as the Federal Government in 1989 allo- cated $8.9 million for research into greenhouse effects. With this sort
of incentive, we should be sur- prised if they tried to prove that nothing was happening.
A recent article, "The green- house effect on life on earth" (The Age, March 8), is a good example of the way greenhouse theorists
carefully phrase their language to avoid onus of proof: "Human- caused changes have raised serious concerns . . . an increase in temper- atures can have extremely serious impacts . . .", etc.
The trouble is there is no con-
clusive evidence that the earth is warming, or that sea levels are ris-
ing, or that weather patterns are changing as a result of global
warming, or that the polar ice-caps are melting.
On all of these claims the evi-
dence is clear. One of the world's leading proponents of greenhouse,
Dr Steve Schneider from the Unit- ed States, in endeavouring to play down these obvious facts, actually
stated on television, "I don't take much stock in the direct evidence". We must remember that only a few years ago this same scientist was warning us about the new ice
On the ABC only two weeks ago, the CSIRO made an an- nouncement that weather patterns across Australia were changing and that frosts had become less preval- ent than in the past. But what can we make of the evidence, even if it is accurate? The most ardent pro- ponent cannot conclude that this is proof of anything except that in the observed period weather pat-
terns and frost frequency have changed.
Greenhouse proponents refuse to understand the enormous time scale of changes in the earth's tem-
perature record over thousands of years, and they refuse to put all the worst global-warming predic-
tions into perspective. Why will they not explain this to the public?
Scientists have calculated tem-
perature records going back over
100,000 years using ice core sam- ples in the polar regions. We know that Australian Aborigines walked from Victoria to Tasmania only 8000 years ago when sea levels were not just 40cm or one or two metres different, but 180m lower
than they are today! In recent years no scientist or oceanic re-
search institute can claim any de- tectable change in the sea level.
WE KNOW that around 900
AD the temperature in-
creased by about two degrees, more than most of the reasonable claims for greenhouse warming are now predicting. We know that sun spot activity correlates directly with oscillations in temperature of nearly one degree over the past several hundred years.
Why are these facts not com- mented upon as more plausible ex- planations for weather fluctua-
What do we make of the fact that the rise in the level of carbon
dioxide in the atmosphere over this century as a result of industrialisa-
tion has no direct correlation with temperature changes in the same period?
What of the global cooling by nearly half a degree occurring be- tween 1940 and 1980 at a time of accelerated carbon dioxide in-
What do we make of the records
demonstrating a direct relationship between carbon dioxide levels and temperature but in a way exactly opposite to that predicted by greenhouse theorists? The amount of carbon dioxide present in the atmosphere is dependent on tem- perature, and not the other way
Why is it that, almost no com- mentary challenges the constant barrage of partial and misleading greenhouse "facts"?
Why is there an assumption in the round-table conference organ- ised by the Prime Minister that we are looking at solutions when there is no proof of cause or evidence that it is happening? The Austra- lian Government is embarking on a road which has high economic costs to this country without any demonstrable certainty that what they are embarking on will have any effect.
Given the beneficial effect of carbon dioxide on the growth of plants and trees (if you double the carbon dioxide then you double the growth), will we see a future government inciting its citizens to burn more carbon fuels to help in the regrowth of forests and to in crease agricultural productivity? Why not? It was only 15 years ago that Dr Schneider was warning us of global cooling.
Andrew Mclntyre is a freelance
author and teacher.